Catster logo

Shaving Your Cat: What Are the Pros & Cons?

shaved persian cat
Image Credit: Santi Nanta, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Vet approved

	Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Whether your cat is matted up or it’s hot out, and you want to relieve it of the heat from its coat, shaving your cat may seem like a good idea. Generally, vets don’t recommend shaving cats for several reasons, though there are exceptions 1.

Here’s everything you need to know about shaving your cat.

Click to skip ahead:

3 cat face divider

Shaving Your Cat: The Pros

There are not a lot of situations that warrant shaving your cat, but it can be valuable in certain circumstances. For example, if your cat has serious wounds or a skin condition that leads to irritation and hygiene issues, shaving your cat gives you access to the affected area to keep it clean and treated. In this case, it’s best to only shave the area surrounding the wound, if possible.

Another situation when shaving may be necessary is if your cat is severely matted. While you can remove mats with baths, brushing, combing, and detangling spray, that may not be an option with skittish cats or cats that have been seriously neglected. Shaving may be the only option to get a fresh start.

If you have an older cat or a cat with mobility issues that can’t groom itself properly, shaving may be necessary if you can’t keep up with its grooming needs on your own. This should be avoided as much as possible, however.

Some longer haired cats struggle to keep their back end clean and feces and urine may get stuck in the fur. This is more common in overweight cats, however your vet or groomer may recommend trimming some of the fur in this area to help keep it clean and hygienic.

Grooming cat with tool for shedding hair
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Shaving Your Cat: Cons

If you don’t have a medical need to shave your cat, it’s not a good idea. Pet hair isn’t like human hair—it’s designed to help your pet regulate its temperature naturally. This is especially true of cats, which evolved in desert environments and tolerated heat better than most people and dogs.

Shaving your cat’s coat doesn’t help it cool off any easier. In fact, you can damage your cat’s natural coat and affect its ability to cool itself properly with repeated shaving.

In addition, your cat’s coat protects it from sun, irritation, injury, and more. Sunburn can be a significant issue for cats without fur, leaving your cat at increased risk of skin cancer.

Does It Matter if My Cat Is Indoor or Outdoor?

Neither indoor or outdoor cats need shaving. Cats are capable of cooling themselves as needed, especially if they’re living inside your climate-controlled home. They’re also generally cleaner than outdoor cats.

As far as outdoor cats, they will deal with more temperature extremes, but that’s all the more reason they need their natural coats for temperature regulation. Shaving your outdoor cat not only harms its ability to stay warm or cool itself appropriately, but it leaves the skin vulnerable to insect bites, cuts and scratches, and sunburn.

cat paw divider


Cats rarely need to be shaved, at least not completely. Most skin conditions and injuries can be managed by shaving only around the affected areas, and it’s not a substitute for routine grooming. If you think your cat would benefit from being shaved, be sure to speak to your vet before making the decision. After all, your cat’s coat is doing what it needs to do.

Featured Image Credit: Santi Nanta, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart